In Harper’s debut novel, a book lover and a party boy explore their friendship, but their egos threaten to destroy what they have.
Jenna and Nick are both 20-somethings, but they have little else in common. She’s a secretary living in a modest apartment who’d rather be at the library on a Friday night. However, she decides that she wants some excitement in her life, so she hangs out with Nick and his hard-partying friends. He’s always encouraging her to have fun, whether at the bar or at one of his own get-togethers. He and his brother, Ben, live in their retired parents’ house and run the family-owned business. However, Nick is more concerned with getting girls’ numbers and throwing pool parties than he is with working. Although Jenna and Nick are “just friends,” he begins to notice more and more flirtation between them. When they share a drunken kiss, he can’t stop fantasizing about being with her—even if he isn’t ready to admit it. The tension builds until Jenna lets go of her inhibitions and they take their relationship past the point of no return. It remains to be seen if Nick will step up and show Jenna that he really cares. Harper captures the frustrating reality of modern dating, including the endless misinterpretations and fears of rejection. Jenna is a strong character who also finds the courage to be a bit vulnerable with Nick. Without this key moment of vulnerability, the book’s sexual tension would have become overly repetitive. Overall, the novel is very plot-driven, leaving little room to delve deeply into the nature of the central friendship-turned–love affair, but it does interestingly give Nick the same amount of attention as it does Jenna. The 20-something set will likely identify with this romantic tale, which ultimately captures the key to a successful relationship: letting down one’s guard.
A modern romance of mixed signals and drunken Friday nights.